Things I Should Write

In her article Writing the Difficult Thing, Sonam C. Gyamtsho explores subject matters that have driven certain writers to address them and driven others away from them. Perhaps to write on such themes we have to have some personal attachment to them; or perhaps we can visualise such themes, if we have a need to do so. I’m aware that writing can congeal around themes that aren’t so concerning, or around those that are focused only on beauty, purity or the like. Writing the difficult thing first involves thinking the difficult theme.

I wrote in my notebook (because the thinking required it this way). Before the ink hit the page, the thinking was along the lines of ‘I want to write . . .’ However, I don’t want to write, as such, along these themes; rather, it is ‘I should write . . .’

I have no personal attachment, insofar as experience is concerned, of course, of the Holocaust, of draconian regimes, of oppression, as Sonam highlights. Maybe that should not stop me writing about these themes. For now, though, I should write other difficulties, experienced in these or not, I should write . . . (what began life as just a block of words, but turned — despite myself — into a rhythm of its own; my deep-seated need for some beauty in the world over-ruled my conscious thoughts on difficult themes):

I should write of

intolerances and injustices
the last taboos we have
dangerous dreams
ways of seeing with warped intent
ugly scenes
addiction and contradiction
false truths and lies
the bastard child of scandalous affairs
non-consensual sex
forced arrangements
unpaid debts
the foreboding shadows of others’ deaths
lost innocence
cause-less fights
slander, sloth, regrets

I should write of fictions close to fact
which might burn a reader somewhere
which might hurt a little sometime
in an honest moment of a clearly secret day

I should write facts disguised as fiction
which might scrape its writer’s sides, once,
perhaps,
when his guard’s let down somehow

I should write the difficulties clearly
here, and suddenly,
I should write about dementia
for my father,
but I don’t know where to start . . .
 
 

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